The Good News, in conjunction with the Correspondence Course Department, presents brief monthly excursions into the study of the Bible, delving into topics relevant to the development and increased understanding of future members of the God Family. Bible study is one means by which Christians are renewed daily (II Cor. 4:16), so let's refresh ourselves with more of the precious truths of God's Word!
Instructions: The format of these ministudies is similar to that of the Ambassador College Bible Correspondence Course. Look up and read in your Bible the scripture references given in answer to the questions. Comments following the questions elaborate on the scriptures just read. That's all there is to it! (These studies are based on the King James Version of the Bible, unless otherwise stated.)
Many are surprised to learn that the Bible says so much about ruling in the coming government of God on earth. Some doubt that" they could ever rule over people, while others have no desire to rule at all. Perhaps you have thought: But I don't want to rule in the world tomorrow. I just want to serve God.
Jesus Christ was God incarnate — God made flesh. Before He became a human being He was the Creator of the universe and of mankind. At His return He will occupy the greatest position of authority under God the Father in His coming Kingdom.
Yet while Jesus was on earth, He became a servant to His fellowman (Luke 22:27; Matt. 20:27-28). And even now, exalted again at the right hand of the Father, Jesus continues to serve us as our High Priest and Advocate (Heb. 4:15-16), and as Head of His Church (Col. 1:18).
Let's understand exactly how and why service to God actually entails rulership.
1. What is one way a Spirit-begotten Christian expresses service to God? Matt. 25:31-40.
We serve God when we serve our fellowman. Christ said, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (verse 40).
This troubled world is filled with needy, sick and lonely people. Hundreds of millions in today's world would benefit from even basic instruction in how to improve the quality of their physical lives, including their basic nutrition and everyday hygiene. Above all, they need to know the truth of God — His purpose and plan for mankind, and how to assure their entry into God's Family. This whole world desperately needs to understand the Word of God!
As mentioned before, Christ came to serve, not to be served. The foot-washing ceremony, which He established and commanded to be observed, symbolizes this attitude of service. Christians should want to imitate Christ's example (I Pet. 2:21; John 13:12-17).
A deeply converted Christian will want to help change this world and help others to share in the blessings that come by living God's way of life. That is, in fact, what the return of Christ and the establishment of His Kingdom (government) on earth is all about! All Spirit-begotten Christians are, in reality, now in training for a significant role in administering that government of the wonderful world tomorrow under Christ's leadership.
2. What does the Bible say resurrected saints will be doing in the Kingdom of God during the Millennium? Rev. 3:21, 2:26, 5:10, 20:4-6.
We read of "thrones," "judgment" and "reigning." These scriptures clearly tell us that in the world tomorrow Christians will receive positions of rulership — opportunities to do great good in this world! All who are converted and overcoming now will become kings and priests, various administrators and administrative assistants in the world-ruling Kingdom of God.
3. In the course of living their physical lives, are God's children to be learning to rule and judge? I Cor. 6:1-3.
Born-again Christians will be able to carry great responsibility with Jesus Christ in the Kingdom of God because, while growing in spiritual character in this life, they have been learning to rightly apply the laws of God to many different situations.
The Bible reveals that the Christian life is one of overcoming, growing, preparing and developing for service through rulership in the world tomorrow!
4. By what great principle can a person of ordinary ability and humble opportunity in this life qualify to take on far greater responsibility in the Kingdom of God? Luke 16:10. (Notice also verses 11-12.) What will Christ say to those who have been faithful over the little that He entrusted to their care? Matt. 25:21. (Be sure to read verses 14 through 30 of this parable.)
We learn to rule by being faithful – conscientious — in whatever we do, putting into practice in our daily lives the principles and laws we learn from God's Word. Even the person who considers himself or herself as having only little ability and natural talent, can qualify to rule — serve — in God's Kingdom.
5. Notice further the parable of the talents in Matthew 25: In what way did the rich man (Christ) divide up his goods? Verse 15.
Notice that all the quantities were not equal. He gave responsibilities according to each servant's natural ability. The talent in the King James Version is actually a measure of weight, having a certain value. Similarly, not everyone has been given the same ability. God knows some have more education, some have greater innate aptitudes, more personality, or more physical strength than others.
But the important lesson Christ intends to teach us by this parable is that God expects us to increase our talents and abilities! God wants His Spirit-begotten children to grow — both in spiritual character and in their inherent abilities. He knows that in order for us to fulfill our purpose for living and being called into His ruling Family, we need to be using and developing our aptitudes, talents and abilities now!
We learn to rule and successfully carry responsibility for the good of ourselves and others in the world tomorrow by learning to better manage the affairs, responsibilities and powers in our control today, no matter how small they may presently be. Unfortunately though, all too often we overlook or fail to appreciate the opportunities to grow and develop right on the job and in the circumstances in which we find ourselves.
6. Does this parable reveal that each servant who is faithful " over a few things" — that is, over his or her limited "talents" and opportunities of this life — will be rewarded with "many things"? Verses 20-23. Isn't it clearly rulership that Christ promised? Verses 21, 23.
Comment: Notice how fair God is. In verses 21 and 23, even though each person was originally given responsibility based on his natural abilities, both of the first two servants increased their responsibilities 100 percent. Christ therefore puts both essentially on an equal level in rewarding them. The Bible here reveals the principle that God will judge and reward us according to how well we do with what we have to do with!
This human life is the training ground. We learn to rule by performing our responsibilities faithfully, by developing ourselves and by learning to rule ourselves — our appetites, emotions and even our thoughts — as we live the Christian way of life with the help of God's Holy Spirit. Thus it is by our overcoming and growing that we will attain an office of responsibility — an opportunity for greater service, for doing much more good than is humanly possible — once we are born into the ruling Family of God.
7. To whom has God promised rulership over the reunited nation of Israel? Ezek. 37:21-22, 24. What positions of rulership did Jesus promise to give each of His 12 apostles under David? Matt. 19:27-28. Has God alluded to others who will be in His Kingdom? Heb. 11:4-40.
Other overcomers have gone before us and are to be in God's Kingdom. Having lived and died in the faith, they have already qualified and will be rewarded with responsibilities in God's ruling Family, though God has not specifically revealed most of their positions to us in the Bible. But every individual will have a significant and rewarding job to do, for an entirely new civilization with diverse cultures, all in harmony with God's law, must be built on earth during the Millennium.
8. But will there really be enough opportunities to serve for all who have overcome down through the ages? John 14:1-3.
The phrase "my father's house" refers to the same house spoken of by Jesus when He drove the moneychangers and their animals out of the temple (Matt. 21:12-13).
By speaking of the temple having many "mansions" ("rooms" in the Revised Standard Version and other translations), Jesus illustrated the concept that there would be places for many assistants in the government of the Kingdom of God on earth, when Jerusalem will be the millennial world capital. "I will come [back to earth] again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am [headquartered in the temple of God on earth], there ye may be also" (John 14:3).
Christ assures us that there will be ample opportunities and challenging, interesting positions of responsibility for all who are born into God's ruling Family!